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Laminate flooring is a fantastic option for anyone interested in DIY home improvement. It’s affordable, easy to install, and doesn’t require many tools or much technical knowledge. Even if you have just a bit of DIY experience, you can follow this simple guide to choose and install laminate flooring in your home.

Locking System Flooring Product Options

One of the best things about laminate flooring is its locking system, which makes installation straightforward and glue-free. There are many high-quality flooring products available, all using this convenient locking system. This means that whether you choose floating wood floors or floating waterproof vinyl floors, the installation process is almost identical.

For vinyl flooring, you don’t need a miter saw. Since vinyl is thinner, you can simply score it with a razor knife and snap it to make your cuts.

Step-by-Step DIY Installation Process

Pre-Installation Steps

Before you begin laminate flooring installation, remember that following the product instructions exactly is crucial to maintaining your warranty. Quality lies in the details, so take your time and follow these steps carefully.

Preparation

Laminate flooring serves as a floor covering and is not meant to be a structural material. Start by removing any existing carpet, padding, or wood flooring from your subfloor. Laminate flooring is not suitable for rooms with sump pumps or floor drains.

Acclimation

Laminate flooring needs to acclimate to the room’s temperature and moisture. Leave the unopened boxes in the room where they will be installed for 48 hours. While some brands may not require acclimation, doing so can help ensure a smoother installation.

Subfloor Preparation

Your subfloor must be clean, dry, and up to code. Sweep away any debris and fill any holes or cracks with a floor-leveling compound. High spots may need to be sanded down. If you have a concrete subfloor, you will need to install a vapor barrier, usually a 6-mil polyethylene film, to prevent moisture from damaging your laminate flooring. A wood subfloor does not require a vapor barrier.

Protect Your Work: Floor Care & Maintenance

After putting in the effort to install your laminate flooring, you’ll want to keep it looking great. Here are some tips for maintaining your new floor:

Routine Care & Cleaning

  • Use felt pads on the bottom of furniture to prevent scratches.
  • Avoid using wax, polish, oils, soaps, detergents, shine enhancers, or varnish on the floor.
  • For dry cleaning, use a dust mop or a vacuum cleaner with a soft bristle brush attachment.
  • For slightly damp cleaning, use an approved laminate cleaner sprayed lightly on a duster.
  • Never put water directly on the floor. Wipe dry immediately if any moisture is present.
  • For bevel-edge products, stick to dry cleaning only.
  • Do not use steam cleaners, spray mops, power cleaners, or buffers.

By following these simple steps, you can enjoy your beautiful laminate flooring for many years. Laminate flooring is not only a cost-effective choice but also a manageable project for any DIY enthusiast.